In search of my voice:

If you don't have a voice, what do ya got?  This is the unfolding story of me finding mine.





Einfach nur perdido.

I have a broken heart, a master’s degree from the most rigorous institution of higher learning in the United States, believe that melon has no place in a respectable fruit salad, and have legit world travel credentials. The first part of my life was characterized by a kind of restraint that I now find morbid. I’m husband material, which sometimes presents itself as a problem, and I vacillate between pretending to write a book about finding my voice and actually writing a book about finding my voice.

When my world was falling apart 3 years ago my councilor Ellie would sometimes ask me, who would we be without the stories we tell ourselves? Over the last 36 months the question has echoed through my spirit in waves, each time with a different timber and shade of meaning. In my first hearing it meant that the world around me wasn’t necessarily how I understood it and conceptualized it, and 3 years worth of unfathomable change in my inner and outer worlds have borne that out. Then, its meaning had something to do with understanding and being aware of my presence and momentary experience in the world, and shedding the urge to evaluate my experiences. Now, it presents itself in an entirely different way.

My story had a structure. It was brilliant and graceful, had integrity and dynamism, and in rounding the southern tip of America’s spine, the first time on my trip when I had to actually turn and point myself home, when my baggage was stolen and my heart was reintroduced to the sparkly lighter side of love, I lost it.

Who am I without this story? Who are we without these stories we tell ourselves?


Fear & Opportunity

The blank page doesn’t patiently wait for first letters and words, but instead it whispers to you from infinity, from eternity, as do Life, and Time. They say, “the Anything goes here.” They say spin your life into letters, braid your thoughts into actions, and your breaths into moments. Etch the contours of your being here onto our plains, they say.

I am overwhelmed by Space, the Internet, and the blank page. Sometimes I’m suspicious of Time, that it’s in collusion with Options to bend me at the waist and unbuckle my knees, to back me down into the fetal position, again, back to the beginning, where anything was possible. But Anything isn’t for us, we who can read, breathe, and remember. We are each stamped with a name on our forehead, or maybe on the back of our neck, or possibly even somewhere deeper, fleshier and more hidden, private, and unique. We are, the readers, the rememberers, knitted with a fleshy sinew and sensibility unique to our time, place, and person.

Open options are not options at all. They are demons of distraction. Capsules of fear, placebos of possibility. Expand, launch, move in a direction, through fear, towards the Something.


What's Essential is Hard to Know

First the moon, then DNA. First mommy & daddy, then me. First a bird, then my heart. The more distant things, the externalities of life, are easier to get a handle on. What is most essential is most veiled. Heidegger said it first, but he didn’t have an infographic to back him up. For him Being was most essential, and therefore most difficult to know. When I look out at the world I see ideas built on ideas built on ideas. We are acrobats who thrive in this scaffolding of thought propped on thought. Ideas are the bolts that hold fast the ideological pillars upon which our trapeze of civilization swings.

I think there’s a kind of benefit in living closer to the essential. It’s what Thoreau was looking for at Walden, what Anthony, the founder of monasticism, was looking for in his cave in Egypt, which smells like urine now, by the way. Sometimes I smell like urine, it reminds me of my dad who says that it’s often sitting on the toilet that he feels most human, when his body is doing its thing, and he’s gotta just sit there, wait for the the ancient rhythms to work themselves out, while his mind watches, and takes the back seat.

The Buddha didn’t do Parkour, not with his body nor mind. He probably smelled like urine from time to time, as I’d bet Mother Theresa occasionally does. They both seem to have found something wholly essential. I think it’s why their lives strike us as different. Their lives seem to play out on the earth, not in the sky. First to sit under the tree, then enlightenment. First to offer a helping hand, then a life.


On Birds & Infographics


Apparently blog posts that allude to the Portlandia catch phrase “put a bird on it” and posts with infographics generate a lot of visitors. In this post I’ve successfully—if I do say so myself—combined them both. Thanks for your support.


Change is Becoming

Change. Nothing is sharper, stranger, more awkward, and more consistent. Yet the inevitability of the wind’s work against the stones on the hillside is a constant cause of confusion. Clouds dancing in the sky, and their shadows swimming over the surface of the earth, so often unnoticed, are the prelude to our future, as is our twisted DNA which toys not only with our memories, but also our progeny. We are this, but only as long as the letters hold. Tomorrow’s tomorrows find us with different language, a different people, a different species.

As in a word, between whose letters the spaces go unnoticed, but bear an untenable tension, we are fixated on the fixed, stuck on the stability of letters side by side, or hands held one in another, or stone laid upon stone. But change. But turning. But shifting. This is life, the vibration of letter against letter in any, or all, of these words before your eyes. This is life, the strings and strands of DNA which crash, recede, and crash again in your throat when you say “yes”, “no”, or “maybe so”. This is life, this is movement towards death, this is change. This is life.

Swimming through the air and across the surface of the earth, lilting and rolling voices make beauty, make living. Only by space do they breathe, only by the tiny deaths of each cycle of separation-collision-separation do they find shape, do they become, do they have the strength to block out the sun and fly across the surface of the land and change the shape of the stones on the hillside. The clouds of words we blow to life are the harbingers of our lives to come. Changing is Being, and Being is becoming, and becoming is life.